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Amputated 'Sicilian'

November 01, 1987|David Pecchia

"The Sicilian" is finally in the theaters--not the 3 1/2 hours-plus version that director Michael Cimino turned in to Gladden Entertainment, but Gladden pres David Begelman's lean 116-minute cut (the subject of a Directors Guild arbitration, which ruled in Gladden's favor). Not surprisingly, critics are sounding off about the missing footage:

N.Y. Times' Vincent Canby: "The people who recut it may have left the continuity in ruins."

Her-Ex's Peter Rainer: "Reportedly trimmed by 26 minutes, it's a series of endless, inchoate sequences."

Our Sheila Benson: "A flaccid and confusing 1 hour and 55 minutes."

KNBC's David Sheehan: "Something's missing."

Daily News' John Richardson figured it "might not be fair" to trash Cimino, "since 40 minutes have been hacked out of (the film) against his will."

S.F. Chronicle's Judy Stone laments: "In fairness, the longer version might have been somewhat more coherent."

Daily Variety wasn't sure who botched it "since uncredited hands cut some 20 minutes."

Roger Ebert, who thumbs-downed the film with TV partner Gene Siskel, admitted to us that "not having any inside information (on the editing imbroglio), maybe I was unduly harsh on Cimino." But he insisted by phone from Chicago that the picture was hard to follow, and that "Christopher Lambert didn't have enough charisma to be (real-life title character) Salvatore Giuliano . . . he didn't have enough charisma to be Giuliano's valet !"

We couldn't get the reclusive Cimino to comment, but Gladden marketing consultant Richard Kahn told us: "Regrettably, the reviewers know not of what they speak. Beyond that, they have not seen the long version, which has to question their qualifications."

Kahn added that Gladden feels that the 116-minute version is the "best face" of the film and "we're quite proud of that."

Cimino's cut will see the light in France and a few other European countries, though it's already caused an uproar in Italy, where it's been branded "inaccurate."

Here in the States, the Begelman cut grossed a respectable $1.7 million in a limited 370 theaters its first 3 days of release.

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